Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Preliator: Now with (provisional) podcast! [canceled]

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Odiogo logo

UPDATE: (04/13/11 12:50 PM) – That’s it. Odiogo’s just too glitchy, and what’s more, it takes far too long to refresh for newer posts. It’s gone. Sorry for any inconvenience.

I’ve long wanted a feature that would allow me to hear my posts read aloud, partially for the sake of proof-reading without it looking like I’m orating to myself (well, any more than usual), and also for the sake of helping readers who are either visually impaired or otherwise unable to read the blog normally (such as those who like to listen to podcasts whilst driving and so on). Due to my inability to orate anything properly without repeating myself a few times too many on the side of self-conscious (ie. I stutter), it seemed like that was forever to be a pipe dream … until the Internet answered my unspoken call for help and presented me with Odiogo.

It’s extremely simple: A little Odiogo “listen now” button button appears at the top of each post, you click it, the cute little chime sounds to inform you that the service has activated, and you just sit back whilst your chosen audio peripheral orates the entire text of the chosen post in a surprisingly decent artificial voice. Cool, eh?

Now, there are a few limitations to what the text-to-speech service can do. First of all, it reads all the text that’s been syndicated (ie. turned into a feed item) for the given post, but will not describe links or pictures, so if I’ve indulged liberally in photo captions or decided to really stretch my linguistic legs and wrote some non-English tongue or whatnot, you’ll probably think I had a little stroke whilst typing or something. (I assure you, I probably didn’t.) I’ve also noticed some slight difficulties with differentiating between some paragraphs, such as segueing into and out of of blockquotes and the likes.

Update: I’ve also noticed that it takes several hours for more recent posts to be made available for reading. Also, longer posts that are cut off with “Continued …»” links are similarly truncated when read, leaving the remainder of the text unheard.

As it is, I’m keeping Odiogo on a trial basis for now. I may or may not remove it in the future, depending on both my personal opinion of it as I use it over time, and any positive or negative reader feedback it receives. So, for the time being, go forth and listen!

You can subscribe to the Preliator podcast using the widget now located beneath the “FeedBurner email” subscription box in the mid-right sidebar.